Shop owners at the Student Center of the Yelwa Campus of the Abubakar Tafawa Balewa University, Bauchi (ATBU) are counting their losses following a fire incident that left 42 shops and property worth millions of naira burnt on Wednesday evening.
It is not yet known at what time exactly the fire started but many believed that the fire possibly started at about 2 am of today (Wednesday) and was reportedly caused by an electrical fault.
When our correspondent visited the scene multiple sources in the university said that no fire service was available to help save the situation.
An eyewitness told WikkiTimes that the School’s Fire Service situated close to the main gate of the institution could not salvage the situation because their truck was not in good shape.
“I learned that when the fire started, they alerted the University fire service but they said that the battery of the truck is faulty. They said they’ve reported to the management for a release of money for it to be fixed or for a new one to be bought but nothing was done.
“They said they kept writing to the management to release money for the purchase of a new battery, but they allegedly said that there was no money.
“They also contacted the Federal Fire Service but they said that they don’t have tyres in their truck, but I cannot verify how true that is. But it’s unfortunate that because of the ineffectiveness of the fire service, this great damage happened. I believe that if there were firefighters, the fire would have been put out these shops and properties would have been saved,” he said.
A shop owner, Prince Hosea Mathias, said he got a call at about 4 am from someone informing him that their shops were on fire.
He said he was informed that the fire was caused by an electrical fault, “and I was also told that all efforts to get the fire service to come proved abortive; by the time I got there later in the morning, I discovered that all the shops were burnt down.”
Mathias added that “I run a computer business center and IT solution. I lost everything I have in my shop, computers, printers, furniture, generator, stationeries, POS machines and a lot of things.
“I graduated in 2016 from the Civil Engineering Department but since I didn’t get any work to do, I decided to start this business, although I’ve been doing this while I was in school in the hostel. So, when I graduated, I expanded the business so I can use it to support myself and the people around me.
“I honestly don’t know how I feel about this incident and in fact, I have not even started thinking about it yet. I’m just trying to be strong because I don’t have any other work anywhere, this is all I have which has been destroyed by this fire.”